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2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a classy plug-in that doesn’t sacrifice drive quality Featured

Posted On Thursday, 21 December 2023 02:24 Written by
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The 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV gets a new look for the 2023 model year. The 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV gets a new look for the 2023 model year. Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi’s got a steep hill to climb as it battles for the attention of U.S. car buyers. But one sure way to reach the people and grow their presence is to make strong vehicles that stand up well even against tough competition.

One such vehicle that should help in that regard is the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, a plug-in hybrid offering which I recently had the chance to experience.

Redesigned both inside and out for 2023, the Outlander PHEV features impressive design, strong tech and allows people to get closer to the EV experience without actually committing to EV-only living, getting rid of that range anxiety.

It comes through with more power, improved electric-only range, and upgraded looks.


LOOKS

The exterior design of the updated Outlander PHEV won’t win everyone over, but I thought its boldness was refreshing. My test vehicle featured a sharp “White Diamond” paint job paired with a black roof.

The grille and front lighting design on the Outlander PHEV is bold and unique, and unlike any other vehicle you’ll find on the road today. Some people will dislike it, some will love it, but I appreciate that Mitsubishi is willing to take risks.

The vehicle features LED lighting, folding and heated power side mirrors, silver roof rails, 20-inch two-tone alloy wheels, and a rear spoiler.

My test vehicle with the SEL Premium Package option also featured a power panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel, and a quilted synthetic leather door insert.

The inside of the Outlander PHEV looks extremely sharp — moreso than the rivals in the plug-in segment from Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota and others. This classy design could work in favor of Mitsubishi as it looks to pull buyers from more established brands. It’s by far the best looking interior I’ve ever seen in a Mitsubishi, and people will take notice. The intricate stitching on the leather seating and sharp dashboard materials were not something I was expecting.

Believe it or not, there are actually three rows of seating offered in the Outlander, with seating for 7, rare for a smaller SUV like this. But the third row is really for smaller children, and not for adults or even big kids. For most people, it will become a storage area.

Speaking of cargo, the vehicle offers 13 cubic feet of space with all rows up, 31 cubic feet behind the second row and 64 cubic feet behind the front row with all rear seats stowed.

There’s even an option for massaging seats, something I didn’t expect to ever write about a Mitsubishi. Other interior features include a leather steering wheel, leather shift knob, three-zone automatic climate control, and rear door pull-up sunshade.

All in all, the redesign of the Outlander PHEV is a big hit, offering much more welcoming features than previous models.

HOW’S THE RIDE?

The 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid I tested was powered by a 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder engine that paired with two electric motors powering the front and rear wheels. A total of 248 horsepower comes from the unit, alongside 332 pound-feet of torque, and the vehicle houses a 20-kWh lithium-ion battery.

All trim levels of the plug-in hybrid Outlander come with an all-wheel drive setup.

Don’t stress about the EV miles running out after 38 miles, because at that point the gas engine will kick in and you’re still cruising. That elimination of range anxiety is what draws a lot of buyers to plug-in hybrids vs. a purely EV offering.

The setup in the Outlander PHEV features a regenerative braking system, paddle shifters, anti-lock braking with brake assist, Active Stability Control, Hill Start Assist, and a Drive Mode Selector that offers a boatload of options to consider (Normal, Power, Eco, Tarmac, Gravel, Snow, Mud)

The Outlander PHEV features some solid power numbers. While not extreme, the vehicle still gets moving and is responsive when you mash the gas. Its 0-to-60 time comes in around the mid 6-second range.

I also found the vehicle to drive quite smoothly and have excellent handling, and it was extremely quiet like most hybrids, plus road noise in the vehicle was minimal.

The AWD capability on the Outlander PHEV will appeal to buyers in areas with lots of rain and snow or otherwise bad weather conditions.

You can attempt one-pedal driving in the Outlander PHEV, but it won’t get you all the way to 0 mph when you lift, just to the low single digits, so the brakes will still come into play at times.


TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

The Outlander PHEV features a solid setup on its infotainment system. Voice commands are well-received, and the screen even lists suggested voice commands for guidance.

There’s a rather simple design on the vehicle’s touch controls and its 8-or-9-inch center touchscreen, but the system functions quite well and is user-friendly and easy to navigate. The straightforward dials for volume and channel controls are a breeze compared to overly complicated alternatives found on some of the vehicles available today.

Audio quality from the Bose sound system was top-notch, with clear bass and treble sounds.

The Outlander PHEV features a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, wireless smartphone charger, Bluetooth connectivity for streaming music and phone calls, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, multiple USB ports, and remote services via the Mitsubishi Connect app.

In terms of safety features, the surround-view camera system was very helpful during my time in the Outlander PHEV, helping greatly when I had to navigate tight situations and parking scenarios.

There’s also a basic self-driving system that will navigate the roadways without driver input, and it takes advantage of Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Prevention, and Traffic Sign Recognition. It’s a decent system that does the job it's set to do, but I found it to be less advanced and reliable than rival systems.

The optional 10.8-inch head-up display is also helpful for keeping the driver’s eyes on the road ahead.

Other safety features of note include: Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Forward Collision Mitigation with Pedestrian Detection, Driver Attention Alert, Blind Spot Warning with Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Automatic Emergency Braking, a full array of airbags (front, side, rear, knee), three-point seat belts with pretensioner. 
Forward collision mitigation is an important feature, as it will apply brakes in situations where a crash is impending. And the blind-spot warning is always a nice feature to have.


FUEL ECONOMY, CHARGING

The overall numbers on the Outlander PHEV are 26 mpg when running on gasoline only, and 64 MPGe with electricity and gasoline combined. I found these numbers to be accurate in my testing, and they are decent but not class leading.

Its EV-only range is 38 miles, a significant boost from the 2022 model. What that means, in real world terms, is that the EV portion is good enough for daily driving of short distances, allowing you to severely limit the need for gas if you charge at home nightly. In theory, with nightly charging, you can remain mostly a stranger to the gas pump.

The estimated time to charge the vehicle’s battery with a Level 2 charger is 6.5 hours, which can be done overnight. And you should definitely install a Level 2 charger if you’re going to own an electric vehicle so you’re not relying on public chargers.

That’s really the appeal of these plug-in vehicles. You have a gas tank for when you’re going on road trips and long rides, but for shorter trips, you can rely mainly on electricity. It’s the best of both worlds.

 

PRICE

The 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV that I tested was priced just over $50,000; base price for the PHEV starts about $40K and it comes in a handful of trim levels options ranging between $40K and $50K.

The price range is higher than some other plug-in hybrid SUV rivals, but it’s worth noting that most alternatives do not offer a third row of seating.

The big question is the value proposition. With the non-PHEV version of the Outlander starting around $30K, you have a large jump of around $10K to get to the PHEV option. While there will be fuel savings that help make up that difference over time, each potential buyer will have to do the math to see if upgrading to the plug-in is worth it.

One positive thing in Mitsubishi’s corner is that they offer one of the best warranties in the business. Specifically on the powertrain, they offer a 10-year/100,000 mile warranty; and the overall limited warranty covers five years/60,000 miles.


BOTTOM LINE

Mitsubishi still has a small overall profile in the U.S. auto market, but with strong vehicle options like the 2023 Outlander PHEV, they are laying the groundwork to grow their presence here.

The Outlander plug-in hybrid is worth a test drive if you’re looking for a middle ground between full EVs and standard ICE or hybrid vehicles. It features a strong drive quality with impressive power numbers compared to rival plug-ins, offers an attractive interior and bold exterior, and the Outlander is staying current in today’s market by offering a PHEV option.

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AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page. Follow AutoTechReviews on Instagram at @Autotechreviews. Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu




Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
  • Price as tested: $50,880
  • Best feature: Improved electric-only range, bold and plush design    
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars    
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Commuters looking for a powerful and smooth drive, stylish design, and high-tech features in a plug-in hybrid
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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